It’s Not About Heading for a Good Feeling….

Porcupine (1)Lately I’ve been seeing the implications of the 3 Principles in a much simpler way, thanks to Keith Blevens and Valda Monroe along with the work I’ve been doing with Chantal Burns.  There’s only one thing people need to understand in order to reap the benefits of the understanding that Syd Banks shared with the world so many years ago.  It’s this:  All experience is always coming from your thinking in the moment.  Period.

When you realize this, those thoughts fail to have the impact they used to have.  They don’t have any staying power.  It doesn’t make sense to entertain thinking that’s outside-in.  When you don’t pay attention to outside-in thoughts, your mind automatically clears and you’re connected to your wisdom and common sense – the source of new thought, thus a new experience in the moment.

Notice what is missing here.  There is absolutely nothing to do – especially anything that has to do with judging thought or the resultant feeling state as good or bad.  It took me a while to understand that this is what Keith and Valda mean when they say you can’t split thought.  Just like you can’t split the principle of gravity.  There’s not good gravity and bad gravity, it’s all gravity.

So here’s what this means in terms of the coaching and sharing I do in business.

  • Taking the notion of good thought and bad thought, good feeling and bad feeling off the table is huge for me. It gets rid of all the doing that clutters up my clients’ minds.  They don’t have to be their own personal thought police, constantly on the lookout for bad feelings to do something about.
  • When I’m not implicitly or explicitly labeling thinking as good or bad, I don’t have to debate with my clients about whether the feeling of stress is good or bad. I have many clients who love to be under a tight deadline or working on a technical problem on the critical path of a project. One person’s stress is another person’s exhilaration.  And trust me, you don’t want to be debating that fact with scientists and engineers!
  • You don’t have to look for a good feeling or any other feeling for that matter. You don’t have to choose to love your neighbor or get curious about the perceptions of your co-workers.  Those feelings are the result of a clear and present mind – and when you don’t entertain illogical outside-in perceptions, you will automatically return to your innate clear and present state.  You’ll see that we are all doing what makes sense to us in the moment, that we all have human frailties.
  • It’s true that when we’re not doing a lot of thinking about our thinking, our minds settle down and we may get flooded with a beautiful feeling of love and gratitude and connection in the moment. But it’s not about working to be in that blissful state more often as though that’s the place to be.  The wisdom of the system will give you what you need in the moment without your interference.

Recently I’ve been talking with a number of people who have been to lovely seaside retreats or incredibly inspiring conference events that, in their minds, generated beautiful feelings of peace and love and gratitude.  I’ve heard people say that it’s too bad they have to go back to the outside world of ringing phones and meetings and other interruptions.  Sometimes, innocently we don’t see that this very statement implies that the outside world/reality is responsible for ruining our state of bliss.  Sometimes people hear that if you have a very deep understanding of the principles or if you really “get it,” you will be in this blissful state all the time, most of the time, or at the very least, more than the people who don’t get it.  I don’t agree, and I also think it takes people down a path of doing, of being on a quest to find and sustain a feeling of bliss and contentment — A state that already exists behind our thinking.

Here’s what occurred to me today when I was walking in the woods with my dogs.  I’m very well acquainted with that beautiful feeling, and it moves me to tears whether I’m sitting in a retreat center or driving in my car on the highway on a beautiful day.  But the wisdom of the human operating system serves up thought that is just what I need in the moment.  For example, sometimes as I’m walking along the path with my dogs, I’m completely zoned out.  I’m not thinking about anything.  I feel fabulous.  I often have insights about a work project or a client or just how damn lucky I am to have the life I have.  However, when I hear the engine of a 4-wheeler coming in our direction, I am immediately super focused on what I might have to do to get myself and my dogs to safety.  It’s a different feeling – but it’s not good or bad.  Did the 4-wheeler ruin my walk?

A few years ago on a walk, one of my dogs was exploring around a stone wall and wound up with a snout covered with porcupine quills.  We were about 30 minutes away from my car so it was a bit of a scramble to get back there and then to the vet.  Once there, 20 minutes and $200 later, my pup was fine.  So fine in fact that a few weeks later, he did it again.  For a few months after that I was hypervigilant whenever we walked by a stone wall – which in the woods in New England is just about all the time!  Was that wrong?  Should I have been trying to get back to my blissful state?  Was the fact that in New Hampshire we have little creatures called porcupines that are covered with nasty quills the reason for my lack of bliss?  NO.  The mind gives us what we need when we need it.  In other words, my common sense dictated that I needed, at times, to keep a closer eye on my dogs.

In my mind, saying that the commitments and facts of working life take me away from my blissful retreat-mode feeling or the reoccurring state of gratitude and love, would be like believing the porcupines ruined my dog walk.  Then I could decide to work on that thinking and cultivate compassion for the porcupines.  Or be grateful that my dog wasn’t hurt badly.  But that doesn’t make sense.  What makes sense is that no matter what I’m feeling in the moment, my experience is always coming from thought – and only thought. There’s nothing to work on or strive for – it just is.  Like porcupines and stone walls in New Hampshire.

Overwhelmed? Help is on the Way!

HandAlthough you vowed that this year would be different and charged into 2016 with the best of intentions to take control of your life, you’re right back where you were before the holidays. Overwhelmed. Overworked. Overscheduled. Most days you dread going to work because you just don’t see yourself making any progress. If one more perky person smiles and says “It is what it is,” you’re going to scream.

The feeling of overwhelm is a common state of mind that looks like it’s coming completely from our circumstances. To make matters worse, conventional wisdom reinforces the misunderstanding about the source of our emotions. The “experts” say overwhelm is the result of relationship problems, career demands, financial difficulties, life transitions, and so on.

When it looks like you’re drowning beneath a huge wave of conflicting priorities and unrealistic expectations, it’s hard to make decisions and move forward. You’re stuck. The more you think about how much you have to do, the less you get done. It’s a vicious circle. Here’s how to stop the madness:

First, realize that your feelings are coming from your thinking 100% of the time. No person or circumstance can ever make you feel anything. Sometimes you see it and sometimes you don’t. But it’s always true; it’s just how the human mind works. When you’re telling friends about your best vacation ever, I’ll guarantee you’re not feeling stressed and overwhelmed, no matter how many emails are in your inbox. Being open to this possibility will pave the way for insights, the fresh thinking that spontaneously emerges when our minds are free and clear.

Second, have faith in your innate wisdom and potential for insights. You’ve been having new thinking and seeing different perspectives and alternatives your entire life. The capability has always been there, but the more you know the less you’re open to seeing something new. Then you’re stuck with what you have, so to speak, and it makes sense try to find a new time management tool, get better at multi-tasking, and when all else fails, complain about the inefficiencies of senior management. You churn and grind away, clogging up your mental pipeline and stopping the natural flow of thought.

Just like a 3-year old in the time out chair, your mind will automatically settle down when you stop focusing on external circumstances as the source of your frustration. From a state of focus and mental clarity, you’ll be able to make decisions and move forward. Your wisdom and common sense will guide you in the right direction.

So the next time you want to scream like a toddler, put yourself in the time out chair and see what happens.

If you want to hear more on this topic, join me in my Supermind -sponsored webinar on February 29th. http://threeprinciplessupermind.com/Events/cheryl-bond-04.886/

Happy Friday!

    30524810_s Why is it that the work and relationships that plagued you all week look so different on Friday afternoon?  The issues and challenges haven’t changed, but somehow you don’t get so riled up about it on Friday.  You’re in a great mood, looking forward to a weekend with your family, maybe doing some gardening or camping.

     Sometimes you notice that Friday afternoons are incredibly productive.  You make decisions and cross tasks off your to-do list.  You don’t get caught in loops of overthinking.  You make the phone calls you’ve been putting off all week and they go far better than you expected.  You feel energized and confident.  During the weekend, thoughts about the week ahead or the past week drift through your consciousness, but you don’t dwell on them.  It’s easy to let them go and get back to the present moment.

     Now fast forward to Sunday night.  The Friday afternoon feeling is long gone.  You’re feeling anxious and pre-occupied.  You might even have trouble sleeping.  Nothing has changed from Friday afternoon to Sunday night in terms of your workload or the people you need to influence and manage.  Yet your mood shifted.  Back to reality – or so you think.

     Here’s another scenario.  It’s Friday afternoon, and you’re tired and frustrated.  In your mind, the week didn’t go well and you didn’t accomplish all you set out to do.  You have a conversation with your boss that turns into an argument.  What happened to Happy Friday?  You stew about it all weekend long.  You try to put it out of your mind but you keep replaying the tape and beating yourself up for how you handled it.

Confusing?  Sound familiar?  Welcome to the Human Race!

   The only way to make sense of these ups and downs is to realize that your mind is always creating your experience of life in the moment through thought from the inside-out.  Regardless of the circumstances, the only thing you are ever feeling is the feedback of your thinking.  Thoughts are always flowing through your mind — sometimes you pay attention to them and sometimes you don’t.  

     You didn’t do anything different or magical that productive Friday afternoon – that’s how the mind works in its natural clear and present state.  OK, so what happened on the other Friday, when it got ugly with your boss?  You were tired and in a low mood, you felt like a failure, and it looked like your circumstances, boss included, were to blame.  From that state of mind, of course it didn’t go well.  And I’m willing to bet that a little voice in the back of your mind was trying to tell you to back off, but you didn’t listen.

     So what’s the takeaway?  Life is always an inside-out experience — the day of the week has nothing to do with your state of mind.  It’s another misunderstanding that we’ve adopted as truth.  What is true is that the human mind is designed for success – it will always give us what we need in the moment.  Wisdom and common sense are built in to every one of us.    

The Truth About Expectations

ExpectationsIt seems everyone is talking about expectations lately.  In the June issue of Oprah’s magazine, Brene Brown counsels us to “reality-check our expectations because they can lead to low self-esteem.” Cheryl Sandberg tells women to lean in to the leadership table and “dismantle the internal barriers holding us back today.”  A number of executive coaches weigh in on LinkedIn to the question:  What do you think holds you back from more happiness and success in your career?  Of course, expectations are a topic in the ensuing dialog.

 There is only one thing to understand about expectations – they are all made from the same stuff — thought.  Our expectations for ourselves and others’ expectations for us are only as real and as powerful as we make them.  We put energy into them or we don’t.  We pay attention to them or we ignore them.  We see them for what they are or we don’t.  With understanding, we see them for what they are more quickly.

 I recently heard that some languages don’t have a word for “should,” usually a key component in any expectation.  The internal version — I should weigh this much, I should make x amount of money, I should have been promoted by now, I should be treated one way or another.  And the external version – you should, they should, mothers should, children should.

 Having a discussion about the content of expectations is not the answer.  It’s not what you think, it’s the realization that you think.  It’s becoming more conscious of the fact that:

We create our experience of life through our thinking. 

We live in the perceptions and feelings that we create.  

We have an unlimited potential for new thought.

       So the only thing that keeps us stuck is the misunderstanding that we have no other options.  When we realize we have free will to recognize, consider, and let go of any expectations (thought) that are not helpful, we see the unlimited potential that is always available to us.  

 

 

Simple Insight — Lasting Impact

doorMore than a decade ago, I was part of a team that taught the 3 Principles to hundreds of people at a large defense and security company.  We called it State of Mind (SOM) training because it made sense to people that at any given time, their SOM was either helping them or getting in the way.  It followed that learning more about SOM would be beneficial.  A particularly skeptical senior leader asked “Why do such intelligent and hard-working people make so many (expletive deleted) mistakes?!”  Even he could see that people who were anxious, agitated, and fearful would make costly mistakes.

 Although the understanding had been taught as Health Realization in the mental health community for a while, business was the new frontier.  It was a significant challenge to point people towards an awareness that transcended intellect and encouraged reflection in a culture where being smart and working hard were seen as the path to success.  They wanted new “tools” to add to their competency toolbox and tips and techniques to follow like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  Looking back, there are certainly things we should have done differently, lessons learned that have improved our ability to teach today.  However, imperfect as it may have been, many people had insights that changed their lives.

 Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to some of the people we trained way back when, and I was struck by how much of a difference one extremely simple insight made in people lives.  Here’s what they heard:

 When I’m not in a good state of mind, I need to step back and give myself a chance to clear my head, to get some new thinking.

 I know, I know, it’s far from perfect.  It sounds like something to do.  It’s making value judgments about thinking, maybe getting people thinking about their thinking.  It made me smile when people got nervous explaining what they heard and what stayed with them through the years.  They’d say, “I know this isn’t right. But this is what made sense to me.”  What really made me smile was what they said after that:

 –   As a working Mom with a husband who traveled a lot, it helped me notice when I was being impatient with my son getting ready for school.  I was able to see that it was my thinking, not what he was doing, that was frustrating me.  I saw a choice between starting our day on a good note or not.

–   I had faith in my resilience in the face of some pretty extreme business events, including our building being wiped out in a flood.  I knew I had a choice to get focused in the moment and do what needed to be done rather than get caught up and overwhelmed.

–   I gave myself permission to work on one task at a time.  I stopped multi-tasking and over thinking everything.  I’m productive and confident. 

–   It takes a lot less energy to get a better result.  I was always a hard worker and got it done, but my clarity of thinking is so much better I can get those same results with a whole lot less energy.

People also admitted that they could still go down a rat hole of thinking and feeling that wasn’t helpful.  But they didn’t get stuck there. Life got a little easier.

I remember taking time in the early days to set the stage for insight-based learning, asking the class to trust our different approach.  We promised that if they hung in there with us, they would see something new for themselves that would stick with them.   They did.